“Each billionaire represents a failure of public policy”, advances the NGO Oxfam in a report published at the opening of the Davos Forum on Monday, campaigning for a halving of their number by 2030 thanks to taxation, before d ‘abolish’ longer-term billionaires.
“Economic inequalities have reached extreme and dangerous levels,” writes the international organization in its annual report on inequalities, at the start of a week of exchanges between economic and political elites in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.
Driven by the surge in stock market prices, great fortunes have soared over the past ten years: out of 100 dollars of wealth created, 54.4 dollars have gone into the pockets of the wealthiest 1%, while 70 cents have benefited the less fortunate 50%, notes the NGO.
The billionaires have doubled their fortunes, while being more and more numerous, affirms Oxfam whose director general, Gabriela Bucher, is invited to Switzerland.
As for France, the top ten French billionaires have increased their fortunes by 189 billion euros just since the start of the pandemic, and Bernard Arnault, the richest man in the world has a fortune equivalent to 20 million of French, details the NGO.
However, “the extreme concentration of wealth undermines economic growth, corrupts politicians and the media, corrodes democracy and increases polarization”, writes Oxfam, adding that inequality has become “an existential threat to our societies, crippling our ability to curb poverty”, and put “the future of the planet (…) in danger”.
According to the international organization, taxation has a “crucial” role to play in order to reduce the number of billionaires on the planet, and must affect the income and capital of the wealthiest.
Among the measures proposed in this report, an exceptional tax on wealth, a tax on dividends, and an increase in taxation on the income from work and capital of the richest 1%.
Capital, a financial windfall “much more important than wages” for the large fortunes, must be taxed more on the gains made, in particular thanks to the sale of shares, but also by the simple possession, underlines the organization.
The “superprofits” of companies are also in the sights of Oxfam, which is proposing to tax windfall profits more, like the billions recorded by oil groups in recent months thanks to the surge in energy prices, against a background of war in Ukraine.
According to the NGO, these measures would bring back the fortunes of billionaires and their number to what they were in 2012, before the numbers got carried away.
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